WP’s Michael Fahey speaks on recent immigration liberalization in Taiwan

by WP

As part of our pro bono support for Forward Taiwan, a grass roots movement for immigration reform in Taiwan, Winkler Partners’ Michael Fahey spoke at the National Immigration Agency’s 2014 International Conference on Immigration Policy. The purpose of the presentation was to describe recent government liberalization and to evaluate them quantitatively and qualitatively. Forward Taiwan’s proposals for immigration reform were also introduced.

Michael summarized the main issues that have led to immigration reform in the past, from the creation of permanent residence in 1999, to the recent relaxation of rules including those for financial health and criminal records. These relaxations have in part led to a steady increase in the number of permanent residents in Taiwan, from 1649 in 2005, to 10,811 as of September 2014.

One of Forward Taiwan’s main policies is to encourage the Taiwanese government to make it easier for foreign students and professionals already studying or working in Taiwan to stay and contribute to society. Foreign students are now given a six month extension to look for work after graduation for example, whilst the same is given to professionals to change employment. This has resulted in an increase of 343 professional and 525 student ARC (alien resident certificate) extensions since April of this year. While these figures are modest, they are a step in the right direction if Taiwan is to attract and keep foreign talent.

An even more recent development has been the new points system set out in regulations implementing the Employment Service Act. The points system allows foreign graduates of Taiwanese universities to obtain work authorization if they can score 70 points for various criteria. Points are given for university degrees, reputable universities, Chinese and foreign language, following government policy and even residence abroad. The significance of the new points system is that it is now possible for foreign graduates of Taiwanese universities to work and reside in Taiwan without having to meet minimum salary requirements.

Nearly 260 foreign graduates have been granted work authorization under the points system since it was announced in July of this year.

The presentation that accompanies Michael’s talk can be viewed here.